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Press Release

Department of Justice Recognizes District of Massachusetts Employees for Superior Performance

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – Four members of the U.S. Attorney’s Office were recognized today by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates and Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys (EOUSA) Director Monty Wilkinson at the 32nd Annual Director’s Awards Ceremony in Washington D.C.

Assistant United States Attorneys Fred Wyshak and Karen Bell, former AUSA Robert Fisher, and Asset Forfeiture Paralegal Specialist Lisa Talbot were among the 160 members of the Department of Justice recognized during a ceremony at the Robert F. Kennedy Department of Justice Building.

In her remarks, Deputy Attorney General Yates said, “The achievements being recognized today reflect the breadth of the department’s responsibilities, and some of our most significant challenges.   From dismantling dangerous gangs, drug cartels and human trafficking operations to tackling political corruption, white collar crimes, and international terrorism, these awardees have taken on our toughest cases.  And the citizens of our country are safer because of their work.”

 “Each and every day, the employees of the U.S. Attorney’s Office demonstrate exceptional dedication to advancing the cause of justice,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz.  “Their work is not solely motivated by winning cases, but by protecting our fellow citizens from crime and upholding the rule of law.  I am honored to work alongside these committed public servants whose collective accomplishments are nothing short of exceptional.”

In the category of Superior Performance by a Litigative Team, Fred Wyshak, Karen Bell and Robert Fisher were recognized for the exceptional investigation and prosecution of the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Probation, John O’Brien, and his two deputies, Elizabeth Tavares and William Burke. 

After a 30 month investigation and 12 week trial, in which 75 witnesses testified, including numerous state court judges and members of the state legislature, the three defendants were convicted of racketeering, mail fraud and gratuity charges.  The investigation and trial revealed that almost every Massachusetts Probation Department hire and promotion was predicated on political sponsorship rather than merit.  In return, the defendants benefited from political favors, including insulating their agency from budget cuts and increasing their political clout.  The trial and convictions in this case illustrated how federal efforts to combat political corruption can have a substantive impact on the manner in which state government functions.

Lisa Talbot received the Superior Performance in Litigative Support Role.  Ms. Talbot has been a paralegal with the Asset Forfeiture Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for 16 years, and has developed an encyclopedic knowledge of asset forfeiture law and procedure over that period of time.  She has handled some of the District’s highest-profile cases, including Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, organized crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger, and former Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives Sal DiMasi.  She also has handled numerous international forfeiture cases, communicating with foreign law enforcement officials and coordinating complex legal requirements.  Ms. Talbot’s work ethic, professionalism, dedication and leadership are extraordinary.

EOUSA Director Wilkinson said, “We honor the truly talented and dedicated legal and administrative personnel in the 94 U.S. Attorneys’ offices and our law enforcement partners who everyday touch lives in our communities, protect the American people, and work to ensure the fair and impartial administration of justice.”

EOUSA provides oversight, general executive assistance, and direction to the 94 United States Attorneys’ offices around the country. For more information on EOUSA and its mission, visit

Updated June 1, 2016

Office and Personnel Updates